Tax Audit Lawyers in Cambridge
In Cambridge, Massachusetts, a "tax audit" is a procedure in which the IRS or local tax authorities conduct an investigation of a taxpayer's tax filings, looking at them in more detail than they ordinarily do. Usually, they do this because there is something suspicious in the tax return. State and federal tax authorities also do a certain number of random audits each year, without necessarily suspecting that an individual auditee has done anything wrong.
The actual procedure involved in a tax audit in Cambridge, Massachusetts is usually fairly straightforward. If you hare chosen for an audit, you will receive a letter in the mail telling you as much. Before responding, it's important for you to make sure that the letter is authentic, because there are scammers who send fake audit letters to innocent victims, in an attempt to extort money out of them. You should search the Internet for the name of the organization that the letter claims to represent, and call them using the contact information on their website, and confirm that you are actually being audited.
Once you receive the letter, and confirm its authenticity, you will have to meet with an auditor at the time and place specified in the letter, and subsequent communications with the auditor. The auditor will tell you what documents and records you need to bring to the meeting. They will then ask you some questions to clear up whatever discrepancy they found in your tax return.
Reasons For a Tax Audit in Cambridge, Massachusetts
There are plenty of reasons why Massachusetts's government, or the federal government, might conduct a tax audit.
As discussed earlier, tax audits can be conducted at random. Obviously, the government doesn't have the resources to audit every taxpayer under their jurisdiction. But, by conducting a significant number of random audits each year, taxpayers are, in theory, discouraged from cheating on their taxes, because they know that they might be audited randomly. If you are chosen for a random audit, and have done everything right, you almost certainly have nothing to worry about.
However, some people in Cambridge, Massachusetts are audited because the government suspects that they are underreporting their income. For example, if you report that you only make ,000 per year, and then go out and buy an expensive sports car, the IRS and state tax authorities are going to want to know where the money to buy that car came from.
Likewise, trying to deduct a large percentage of your income is likely to raise suspicions. A tax deduction is a way to reduce one's tax liability by making some of one's income non-taxable. Some common sources of tax deductions in Cambridge, Massachusetts are business expenses and charitable donations. Some people, however, try to include false deductions in their tax returns (trying to deduct charitable donations they never actually gave, for example). A huge number of deductions will be highly suspicious to the tax authorities, and they will want to see evidence to support every deduction you claim, if you're audited.
How Can A Cambridge, Massachusetts Tax Lawyer Help?
If you find yourself on the business end of a tax audit in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and you are sure that you have reported all of your income, and not claimed any invalid deductions, chances are you were just chosen at random for an audit, and you probably don't have any cause for concern, other than the inconvenience that an audit represents. If you are found to owe any back taxes, and your failure to pay in the past was the result of an honest mistake, you'll likely be afforded a chance to pay any taxes you owe from past years, with the possible addition of interest.
However, there are some tax audits where the underlying facts are much more complex than a simple misunderstanding. In these cases, a good tax attorney in Cambridge, Massachusetts may be necessary to ensure that the process is as painless as it can possibly be.